Food Packaging Makes the Case for Wellness
Jennifer Acevedo, Editor-in-Chief
We’ve all heard the reports. The number of US children ages 6-19 classified as obese has tripled since 1980, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention figures. The Center for Science in the Public Interest has called on Secretary of Health and Human Services Tommy Thompson to focus on the issue of marketing “junk” food to kids as part of his department’s anti-obesity campaign.
So how are major CPG companies addressing these concerns? Quite effectively, actually.
General Mills, Kellogg and Kraft, along with various advertising trade associations, have formed the Alliance for American Advertising. The lobbying group will address issues relating to the public debate about marketing food to children.
This past fall, General Mills announced an initiative to make all of its Big G breakfast cereals, including kids’ favorites like Trix and Lucky Charms, with whole grain. The company has unveiled new packaging with the phrase “whole grain” and an explanation of the nutritional benefits prominently displayed on the front of the box.
“General Mills is committed to using packaging, advertising and other communication tools to greatly elevate the visibility of whole grain foods in America,” says Susan J. Crockett, senior director of the Bell Institute of Health and Nutrition, the nutrition research arm of General Mills.
Beyond the cereal aisle, General Mills uses its easy-to-understand Goodness Corner icons on various foods to communicate nutrition-minded messages such as “fat free”, “low fat” or “good source” of fiber, calcium or iron.
Kraft has also addressed this opportunity for consumer education with its Sensible Solution labeling program, which will begin to appear on qualifying products in the United States in April.
Not to be outdone, Kellogg recently extended its message beyond the functional nutritional benefits of whole grains for a more emotional appeal to consumers. Packaging for its popular breakfast foods, including kid-friendly Pop-Tarts and Eggo waffles, positions the brands as being dedicated to helping consumers start each day on a positive note with good tasting, nutritious foods. Imagery of the morning sun enhances this identity.
But, don’t worry, we won’t see Tony the Tiger® retiring anytime soon. His latest advice, which appears on Kellogg’s new Tiger Power whole grain, whole wheat cereal? “They’re gr-r-reat…for growth!”